This herbaceous vine grows to 6 feet tall and has a delicate stem from which many branches and coiled tendrils grow. The alternating leaves are deeply lobed, and its flowers are yellow. The fruits, which emerge as green, turn yellow-orange when mature. The seeds are covered in a bright-red pulp. Also known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter sguash, sorosi, goya, pare, balsam pear, and condiamor. Next to marijuana, it is the most medicinal plant in Jamaica,
where bush medicine still thrives today.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Asia, Central America, Amazon, Caribbean, Japan, Pacific Islands, Africa, Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibacterial, antitumor, hypotensive, febrifuge, abortifacient, emmenagogue, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, antifungal, antiparasitic, antimalarial, carminative, purgative, antiseptic, tonic. Treats high cholesterol, diabetes, rheumatism, difficult labor, poor lactation, menstrual issues, skin conditions, colds, cough, headache, constipation, mouth sores.
For skin conditions, boil a large handful of the leaves and vine in 1 gallon water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Strain, and allow to cool. Wash the affected area with the decoction. For rashes, place 9 leaves in a cool bath. You may wish to add in a small handful of quaco bush micrantha). For all other conditions, boil a small handful of leaves and vine in 3 cups water for 10 minutes. Repeat daily for up to 10 days. For mouth sores, chew the leaves.